Barcelona and Sagrada Familia

Our Barcelona adventure continues my previous post with a visit to the Waterfront, Gothic Cathedral, Plaza de Catalunya and Sagrada Familia.

Sagrada-Familia_

Sagrada Familia

We almost missed seeing the inside of this extraordinary Basilica because we did not buy tour tickets in advance. It is the most visited monument in Spain. Luckily we were able to get one of the last tours of the day. More about the Sagrada Familia in a moment but first let me tell you how our day of seeing the sights started.

in the morning we took a short taxi trip to the Barcelona waterfront. It reminded me a little bit of Santa Monica beach, except I was surprised to see men and women sun bathing in the nude. There were families with children around but no one seemed to mind.

waterfront-Barcelona

The W Hotel punctuates the background of the Barcelona waterfront.

Steven and I didn’t bring our bating suits but I did wade in the water a little. It was a lovely beach day but we didn’t stay too long because we had a lot we wanted to see.

Next on our list was a stop at the Gothic, Barcelona Cathedral. The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia was constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries. The details adorning the Cathedral were dramatic.

Gothic-Barcelona-Cathedral

 

We came upon at a cute little place for lunch while we waited for our tour to the Sagrada Familia. We learned a little too late in our stay that we were hugely over tipping. Tipping is not expected in Barcelona and if you do, it’s usually only about 5 to 8 percent.

Finally the Sagrada Familia, words cannot describe this wonderful work of art.

Our tour started by the entrance of the Passion Facade. It depicts the end of Jesus’s life, with the crucification and resurrection. Architect, Antoni Gaudi meant the rows of columns at the top to looks like ribs. The slanted columns remind the viewer of Jesus’s stretched muscles.

Sagrada-Familia-Passion-Facade

 

There is so much symbolism and geometric perfection contained in every angle, window, and artistic biblical representation of this masterpiece. Gaudi also uses the forms found in nature. This interior photo reminds me of trees in a forest, reaching for the sky.

Sagrada-Familia-interior

“Those who look for the laws of Nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator.” – A. Gaudi

 

The blue stained glass windows on the east side of the Basilica face the sun rise.

blue-windows-sagrada-familia

 

The west side, where the sun sets, the windows have warmer hues that turn the walls and interior structures a dazzling yellow-orange when the sun hits it.

Sagrada-Familia-west-side

Color in certain places has the great value of making the outlines and structural planes seem more energetic. – A. Gaudi

Our tour ended outside the Nativity Facade. The Nativity Facade prominently features the birth of Jesus. It is also filled with other biblical representations and characters. This work of art depicts many keys to understanding the Christian religion. There is also a third important facade, the Glory Facade.

 

nativity-facade-sagrada-familia

Several architects contributed to the building of the Sagrada Familia, the most notable being Antoni Gaudi who constructed it combining Gothic and Art Nouveau forms. It is distinguished as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This Church of the Holy Family has been under construction since 1882. It remains unfinished and still under construction.

Our final day in Barcelona, I took a walk alone up to the other end of Las Ramblas after having a sumptuous breakfast at the Le Meridian where we were staying.

Barcelona-Las-Ramblas

The heart of Barcelona beats in Las Ramblas, a wide boulevard that leads from Plaza de Catalunya in the center of the city all the way down to the sea.

 

placa-de-catalunya

A rich tapestry of human interaction characterizes Placa de Catalunya (Square of Catalonia).

 

Catalonia-Square-2

As I stopped to take a photo at the beautiful fountain in the plaza, an intriguing building in the background caught my eye. I went in for a closer look.

 

building-off-Las-Rambles

My eye for interesting architecture lead me to some good shopping near the building on Las Ramblas. I wish I could have lingered longer but it was time to continue our travels on board the Royal Princess. Our first port would be Cartagena, Spain. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Happy adventures, Linda

More about Barcelona here: Barcelona and Park Guell

 

“I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.” – Exodus 31:3-5

 

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Barcelona and Park Guell

The beautiful Le Meridian hotel on Las Ramblas was the perfect location to take in the sights and sounds of Barcelona. Our first night in Barcelona, we decided to walk from the hotel and explore on our own. In the small center, right outside our hotel, an acrobatic street show was going on and a cheering crowd had gathered. Their energy put us in a festive mood.

Barcelona-street_

 

The buildings along the way were beautifully adorned with interesting architectural details.

Barcelona-bridge-between-two-buildings

 

Las Ramblas was packed in the early evening. The street was teeming with the overflow of people.

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PLACA REIAL

After walking about 15 minutes and turning down aside street, we came upon the coolest place, Placa Reial. It was an expansive plaza with a dozen or more restaurants circling the inside perimeter. There we saw more talented acrobats performing. The street artists entertained the crowds as they dined. I was amazed at the dare-devil tricks they did on hard cement. 

Barcelona-street-acrobats

 

Watch this clip of the street performers as one of them does a flip over four people selected from the crowd.

 

A lovely, large fountain accented the center of the Plaza Reial square. my husband, Steven enjoyed people watching from his position at the fountain.

Steve-fountain-Placa-Reial

Steve also loved perusing the restaurant menu’s that were prominently displayed outside of each restaurant.

The biggest surprise of the evening was the stunning sunset in the Placa Reial.

Barcelona-Placa-Reial-sunset-copyright-Linda-Eichberg

 

PARK GÜELL

Our second day in Barcelona, we met some family members who joined us on vacation. Our first stop was Gaudi’s Park Güell.

Park-Guell-entrance

 

Park Güell features lovely gardens and architectural wonders by Antoni Gaudi. 

Park-Guell-gardens

 

The buildings reminded me of gingerbread houses. I love Gaudi’s creative liberty and imaginative, ornamental creations.

 

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Gaudi put into practice a series of new structural solutions rooted in geometry. His works acquire a structural richness of forms, free of the rational rigidity or any sort of classic premises. In the design of Park Güell, Gaudí unleashed all his architectonic genius and that would become the symbol of his organic style.

Gaudi-bridge-Park-Guell

 

My nephew, David peeks his head out of the window.

David-Gaudi

 

Charming, like a fairyland! Gaudi’s fantastic mosaic work was incredible. My photos couldn’t capture the amazing detail.

Gaudi-Park-Guell

 

We bought our “skip the line” tour tickets to the park weeks ahead of time on Viator. I recommend doing that during high tourist seasons.

Part two of our adventure continues here: Barcelona and Sagrada Familia

Gratefully yours, Linda

 

The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. – Psalm 32:8

 

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